Kolkata: Virat Kohli has tasted unprecedented success in Test cricket since he took over from Mahendra Singh Dhoni in 2014. Under his captaincy, the Indian team went past teams like England, New Zealand and Australia and also rose to the number one position in Test cricket in the ICC rankings.
But newly appointed head coach Ravi Shastri, who is known to share a cordial relationship with skipper Kohli said that the 28-year old might soon catch up with MS Dhoni with the way he’s progressing at the moment.
India, who is currently in Sri Lanka for a full series beat the hosts by 304 runs in the first Test to gain a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.
“The way Virat is progressing, he may well catch up with Dhoni. I have been involved with cricket for 35 years as player, commentator and coach. Apart from Sachin Tendulkar, I have never seen anyone break records like Kohli. He has caught up with many greats, playing just half the number of matches. I wonder where will he stop,” said Shastri in an interaction with Bengali daily Anandabazar Patrika.
Under Dhoni’s captaincy, India won all three ICC trophies- the World T20, World Cup and the Champions Trophy. His success with the Indian team is unparalleled in world cricket.
Virat Kohli on the other hand has had a wonderful start as an Indian captain. He holds the highest win percentage with 62.97% among captains to have led India in 20 Tests or more. Under his captaincy, India has played 27 Test matches out which they have won 17, drawn seven and lost just three.
Dhoni won 27 out of the 60 Tests he captained and is second after Kohli with a win percentage of 45. Sourav Ganguly is the third captain in the list winning 21 out of 49 Test matches with a win percentage of 42.85.
But he also went on to say that Dhoni arguably remains the greatest Indian captain based on current record. “The guy has won two world titles – a World Cup and a World T20. Beside that, he has also finished runner-up in another World T20. He played in the semi-finals of two other World T20 and World Cups. People often talk about his limited-over record, but compare Dhoni’s Test with any captain and it will show who is the greatest ever ,” he said.
He also added, “Virat is progressing in the same direction as well.”
Shastri who was the Team Director was replaced by Anil Kumble who was appointed as the coach in 2016. But after a fall-out with skipper Kohli, Kumble quit stepped down from the job abruptly and after a lot of drama, Ravi Shastri was named as the head coach of the team.
Shastri who was the Team Director from 2014-2016 worked with Dhoni and Kohli and saw them perform as captains. It was 2014 that Dhoni retired from Test cricket which left Kohli with the captaincy. Under his tenure, India led by Dhoni reached the semi-finals of the ICC World Cup in 2015 and the World T20 in 2016.
But he said that an Australian is the one to give Kohli a tough competition in terms of both batting and captaincy. “Steve Smith. As a captain his batting record is exceptional,” he said.
Smith averages 61.06 in Test cricket while Virat’s average is 50.03 in the game’s longest format. It remains to be seen as to whether his avergae can eclipse Smith’s with the passage of time or not.